Extracts from Printmaking Today (Summer Edition 2000)
You might think the pages of pure colour in Paolo Carraro's books are not printed at all but are made of coloured paper. You would be wrong. Every page is printed, sometimes twice to achieve the required saturation. When you turn the page, the next may be cut through, the geometric piercing revealing not just the colour on the following page, but a view through layers of perfectly criss-crossing window. Each page is printed, cut and overlaid by hand with absolute precision.
Through a constructivist approach, Carraro found his way to the tradition of geometric speculation which underlies the creations of Arabic and Western artists from before the Renaissance, through Piero della Francesca, Da Vinci, Velazquez and on to Mondrian. It also feeds the 'perennial philosophy' of Ficino, the neo-Platonists, the Cabalists and, more recently, the theosophical movement, with which Mondrian was in sympathy. It is 'perennial' in the sense of opening a door onto the infinite and of the knowledge it offers, with out the sense of progress implicit in Western science.
These artworks are not luxury objects but they ravish by their physical intensity and purity. They convey powerfully their intellectual underpinning, that something must underlie this beauty though it might take some persistence to understand it. They do not depend on your knowing anything in advance. When you begin to wonder about the systems, the structures and the meanings. it is because the visual impact of the book has drawn you in.
Ex tracts from Art Monthly (Feb. Edition 1997)
The important key for Carraro was the revelation of the golden mean, the series of ratio which express fundamental relationships in the natural world as well as in the man-made environment; the spiral at the base of a pine-cone or within the face of a sunflower, for example, conform to this pattern. The mathematical progression that embodies this truth has provided the jumping-off point for a flow of books and prints which are profound in the insight they uncover while retaining a lightness of spirit and sensuous delight in play.
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